BREXIT & THE IRISH DIMENSION
There is news this morning that Brits in their droves are applying for an Irish Passport, (The Paddy Pass). “The number of Irish passports issued in Britain is set to almost double this year compared with the last full year before the EU referendum, Ireland’s ambassador to the UK has said.”
Every week now it seems, we are hearing of yet another London-based institution sniffing around Dublin for office space. It is all a bit tentative still and I reckon those Institutions are just hedging their bets until it all becomes clearer between now and 2019. Nobody yet knows the final terms before that departure date.
Ambassador Dan Mulhall pinned the surge in demand on the Brexit vote, with Ireland remaining inside the European Union.
Around 50,000 Irish passports are usually issued in Britain each year, Mr Mulhall has previously said. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m responsible, obviously, for our passport operation here in Britain, and for the five years up to last year the demand was pretty flat, and last year it rose by 40%. So if the demand doubles then 100,000 British people will apply during this year,” but that’s hardly a stampede, is it?
There are several million British citizens who are entitled to apply for dual Irish/British citizenship and why not? My father was born in Northern Ireland in 1908 and as a result, I am entitled to a British Passport if I so choose. Our two countries have been intertwined for over 800 years. Mind you, our Dan also told the Today Programme that 500,000 Irish passports were issued to applicants around the world in the first half of 2017. For a country of 4.7 million souls, that amount surprised me.
But Dublin’s Commercial Market Praying for a Granite-Brexit, the harder the fall the better as far as these people are concerned.
Of course we are talking about the cheerleaders of the last property crash here. These local cowboys know how to create a frenzy around property prices and cash in their chips before the economy overheats and fails and the bill for their greed is thrown on the ordinary workers. But as David McWilliams says in his article, “Ireland is competing with other European countries. Prime rents in Frankfurt are €474 sq m per annum. Remember Dublin is charging €673 sq m. The difference — €199 per annum — means that Dublin is 42% more expensive than Germany’s most expensive city. Once you start comparing other German cities, the extent of Ireland’s commercial property rip-off becomes more evident.” So just why 11 British Companies have signed up for Dublin already this year is a bit of a mystery to me.
We now know that, ‘Vulture funds pay around €1 in taxes for every €1 million they hold in Irish assets.’ These go-boys with their massive pension funds moved in on the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) auctions a few years back and bought loads of property here for a song. The betting money is on them off-loading that property now to panicked British companies and walking away with massive profits as a result.
Put together the surge in passports for the UK, the inquiries from there for office space, the vulture funds with billions of euros of it on offer and the local auctioneers hyping the whole boiling pot and you can see there are those in Dublin rubbing their hands in glee at London’s dilemma. Leo Varadkar’s comments this week about a border in the Irish Sea begin to make sense after a fashion or at least can be understood from a Dublin 2, 4 & 6 perspective. In discussion with a local economist recently I argued that our appetite for a hard BREXIT was a bit unseemly, given the above. But the other guy countered that we are simply competing for available business and if we don’t, it will be lost to us in a wider Europe.
Leo is up with the Sammys in the North today and I reckon Arlene Frosty of the DUP will give him an earful when she sees him. Teresa May too could be a little dismayed, i.e. fucking raging, at the Irish attitude. But one wonders if it was the Irish leaving, would the UK bid for our IT & Pharma companies? I would imagine that the arrival in the UK of Google, Pfizer, Apple, Microsoft, Eli Lily, Facebook, MSD (Merck), IBM, Stryker, Boston Scientific and many many more looking for people and properties to set up their EMEA headquarters there would cause a ripple even in mighty London.
But I still have an uneasy feeling about how this BREXIT thing is being handled both in the UK, in the EU and here in Ireland. I do not understand why it has to be so confrontational. After all, each country joined the club of its own free will and if one of those countries now wants to leave of its own free will, why the necessity to punish it for that decision.
What ever happened to respecting the democratic vote and the decision of the majority?